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3:45 PM ET, December 17, 2018


 Top Items: 
New York Times:
Russian 2016 Influence Operation Targeted African-Americans  —  The Russian influence campaign on social media in the 2016 election made an extraordinary effort to target African-Americans, used an array of tactics to try to suppress turnout among Democratic voters and unleashed a blizzard …
David McCabe / Axios:
Senate-commissioned reports show scale of Russian misinformation campaign
Discussion: RedState and Politico
Instagram Was Bigger Russian Election Tool Than Facebook, Senate Report Says
Rachel Weiner / Washington Post:
Michael Flynn's business partner charged with illegally lobbying for Turkey  —  A business partner of Michael Flynn is being charged with acting as an agent of a foreign government and conspiracy for attempting to get Turkish cleric Fethullah Gulen extradited from the United States.
U.S. Department of Justice:
Two Men Charged with Conspiracy and Acting as Agents of a Foreign Government
Discussion: Law & Crime
Associated Press:
Prosecutors charge 2 involved in Flynn's Turkish lobbying
Discussion: Politico and NBC News
United States Senator Lamar Alexander:
Alexander Statement on 2020 Senate Election  —  NASHVILLE, Tenn., December 17, 2018 - United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today released the following statement:  —  “I will not be a candidate for re-election to the United States Senate in 2020.
Joel Ebert / The Tennessean:
Tennessee US Sen. Lamar Alexander will not seek re-election in 2020  —  After roughly a quarter century in elected office, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander will retire.  —  The former Republican governor, who has served in the Senate since first being elected in 2002, said Monday that he will not seek a fourth term in the upper chamber.
Discussion: HuffPost and Conservative Review
Burgess Everett / Politico:
Sen. Lamar Alexander will not run for reelection
Aidan McLaughlin / Mediaite:
Napolitano Corrects Wall Street Journal on Fox Business: FBI Agents Did Not Entrap Mike Flynn  —  Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano dismissed claims that FBI agents “entrapped” former national security adviser Michael Flynn when they interviewed him at the start of the Trump administration.
Discussion: CNN and Raw Story
Aaron Blake / Washington Post:
The ‘Michael Flynn is an innocent hero’ conspiracy theory suffers a major setback  —  Trump backers last week found their (latest) smoking gun in a supposedly vast law-enforcement conspiracy to take down President Trump: A judge asked for more information about Michael Flynn's guilty plea …
John Harwood / CNBC:   Most Americans want action on climate change. Republicans are the exception: Poll
Gary Baum / Hollywood Reporter:
Woody Allen's Secret Teen Lover Speaks: Sex, Power and a Conflicted Muse Who Inspired ‘Manhattan’  —  In 1976, 16-year-old model Babi Christina Engelhardt embarked on a hidden eight-year affair with the 41-year-old filmmaker that mirrors one of his most famous movies.
Discussion: Daily Wire
Will Sommer / The Daily Beast:
Witches to Trump: Stop Calling the Mueller Investigation a ‘Witch Hunt’  —  The witch community is tired of the president invoking the worst moment in their history to serve his political needs.  —  It may, on the surface, seem like a harmless way to trivialize Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation …
Discussion: Breitbart and
Timothy L. O'Brien / Bloomberg:
How Donald Trump Got Caught in a Legal Vise  —  The breadth of investigations is so sweeping that they may hang over the president and his entourage long after Robert Mueller's probe is finished.  —  As President Donald Trump and his lawyers turn toward the new year, they'll have to contend …
Kyle Cheney / Politico:
Pelosi tries to buy Mueller time
Discussion: Raw Story and The Federalist
Yair Rosenberg / Tablet Magazine:
The New York Times Just Published An Unqualified Recommendation For An Insanely Anti-Semitic Book  —  The book, recommended by author Alice Walker, repeatedly cites the Protocols of the Elders of Zion, dubs the Talmud “among the most appallingly racist documents on the planet,” and says Jews funded the Holocaust and control the KKK
Luciano Guerra / Washington Post:
I voted for Trump.  Now his wall may destroy my butterfly paradise.  —  The Republican party is abandoning the conservative principles I treasured.  —  Right now, in Mission, Tex., we don't worry about immigrants who crossed the border illegally or drug smugglers.
Discussion: Splinter and Raw Story
Suddenly everyone is defending the Affordable Care Act  —  Now that federal Judge Reed O'Connor has ruled the entire Affordable Care Act is unconstitutional — since Congress zeroed out the penalty tied to the mandate to buy health insurance — the health care law once again has to show it has an extra life in its back pocket.
Wall Street Journal:
Texas ObamaCare Blunder
Discussion: Raw Story
Beth Musgrave / Lexington Herald-Leader:   AG Andy Beshear says he will fight to keep Affordable Care Act
Margaret Sullivan / Washington Post:
It's high time for media to enter the No Kellyanne Zone — and stay there  —  Lies are coming at the American public in torrents — raining down on them everywhere they turn.  —  A report prepared for the Senate Intelligence Committee, and obtained by The Washington Post, made that breathtakingly clear over the weekend.
Glenn Greenwald / The Intercept:
A Texas Elementary School Speech Pathologist Refused to Sign a Pro-Israel Oath, Now Mandatory in Many States — so She Lost Her Job  —  A children's speech pathologist who has worked for the last nine years with developmentally disabled, autistic, and speech-impaired elementary school students in Austin …
Discussion: Hit & Run, The Daily Beast and Splinter
Adam Wren / Indianapolis Monthly:
Pete Buttigieg Has His Eye On The Prize  —  Can South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg work the angles to become a dark-horse presidential contender in 2020?  —  To know Pete Buttigieg is to watch him play a skill crane game, the joystick-guided, mechanical claw-driven pastime found in video arcades …
Sam Stein / The Daily Beast:
Trump Previously Lined the Pockets of His Democrat Defender Mark Penn
POLITICO Playbook PM: The shutdown puzzle pieces
Discussion: Bloomberg and ABC News
Holly Otterbein / Politico:
Pennsylvania meltdown triggers Republican alarms  —  PHILADELPHIA — A GOP implosion in Pennsylvania has Republicans alarmed about President Donald Trump's reelection prospects in a state that proved essential to his 2016 victory.  —  The enfeebled state party — still reeling …
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and Raw Story
Garrett M. Graff / Wired:
A Complete Guide to All 17 (Known) Trump and Russia Investigations  —  WHILE POPULAR MEMORY today remembers Watergate as five DNC burglars leading inexorably to Richard Nixon's resignation two years later, history recalls that the case and special prosecutor's investigation at the time was much broader …
Alan Dershowitz / The Hill:
Did Michael Flynn lie?  Or did the FBI act improperly?  —  The media is asking the wrong question about the Michael Flynn case.  They are asking whether Flynn lied or the FBI acted improperly, as if the answers to those two questions are mutually exclusive.
It's Round Two on Capitol Hill: Comey vs. House Republicans
Discussion: Talking Points Memo
Susan B. Glasser / New Yorker:
How Trump Made War on Angela Merkel and Europe  —  The German Chancellor and other European leaders have run out of patience with the President.  —  This past July, on the final day of the nato summit in Brussels, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, proposed a closed-door emergency meeting.
Discussion: Politico
USA Today:
Americans' message to Washington on the looming shutdown: Don't  —  WASHINGTON — Americans have a clear message to Washington as the government hurtles toward a partial shutdown on Friday: Don't.  —  By a double-digit margin, 54 percent to 29 percent, those surveyed in a new USA TODAY …
Discussion: Shareblue Media
Washington Times:   Time to finish the Wall
Vivian Wang / New York Times:
Cuomo to Push Legalizing Recreational Marijuana in New York by Early 2019  —  [What you need to know to start the day: Get New York Today in your inbox.]  —  Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo announced that he would push to legalize recreational marijuana next year, a move that could bring …
Discussion: Hit & Run
Marina Fang / HuffPost:
Gov. Andrew Cuomo Calls For Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana In New York
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 More Items: 
John Stanton / BuzzFeed News:
Border Patrol Tells Congressional Delegation It Can't Meet With Agents Who Detained 7-Year-Old
Jay Wallis / KVUE-TV:
Muslim group challenging Texas' ‘No Boycott of Israel’ law
Discussion: Talking Points Memo and CAIR
Bill Bostock / Business Insider:
Vladimir Putin really hates rap music — and wants to do everything he can to bring Russia's rap scene to heel
Alexandre Tanzi / Bloomberg:
U.S. Student Loan Debt Sets Record, Doubling Since Recession
Discussion: The Daily Caller
Sarah McCammon / NPR:
Evangelical Writer Kisses An Old Idea Goodbye
Discussion: Raw Story and Althouse
Jim Geraghty / National Review:
Who's Equipped to Hold the Trump Coalition Together?
Discussion: Power Line
Jason Zengerle / New York Times:
These Democrats Will Soon Have the Power to Investigate the White House. How Far Will They Go?
Martin Crutsinger / Associated Press:
After the Fed's likely rate hike this week, all bets are off
 Earlier Items: 
Michael Brice-Saddler / Washington Post:
His fiancee was killed on a run in Logan Circle. He was left with the rest of his life.
Chuck Ross / The Daily Caller:
Michael Cohen Adviser Deals Major Blow To The Steele Dossier
Caitlin Oprysko / Politico:
Coons: Trump sounds ‘more like a mob boss than president’ with Cohen attacks
Discussion: Breitbart
Karol Markowicz / New York Post:
Soaring suicides are another sign of our toxic social disconnect
Reid J. Epstein / Wall Street Journal:
California Upends 2020 Democratic Primary Calendar
Walter Dellinger / Washington Post:
Should we be able to indict a sitting president? Consider Spiro Agnew.
Discussion: Washington Monthly